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Kuwaiti crown prince heads to the U.S. for medical tests: state news

FILE PHOTO: Kuwait's Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah waves as he arrives for the opening session of Parliament in Kuwait City December 16, 2012. REUTERS/Stephanie Mcgehee

RIYADH (Reuters) - Kuwait’s Crown Prince Sheikh Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Sabah traveled to the United States for “routine” medical tests on Tuesday, state news agency KUNA reported.

Sheikh Nawaf, 80-year-old brother of the small Gulf Arab state’s ruler, underwent minor back surgery in 2013 in Germany. A relatively low-profile figure, he became next in line to lead the U.S.-allied oil exporter in 2006, shortly after Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah became ruling emir.

The crown prince underwent successful medical check-ups last August in the United States, KUNA reported at the time.

The health of leading members of the ruling family is a sensitive issue in Kuwait, where less senior al-Sabah members have long been jostling for position, according to diplomats and analysts. It is not public knowledge who is third in line in Kuwait, an OPEC member state.

Reporting by Sarah Dadouch; Editing by Peter Graff